Connecticut colony


The Connecticut colony, chartered by Charles II in 1662, was an outgrowth of the great Puritan migration of the 1630s. First claimed by the Dutch in 1614, it was not effectively settled until the 1630s, when English settlers began to arrive in large numbers from Massachusetts colony. Determined to find greater freedom and less settled areas, Congregationalists founded the villages of Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield in the Connecticut River Valley by 1636. They joined to form the colony of Connecticut, led by the dynamic minister Joseph Hooker. Two years later New Haven was established as a Puritan theocracy but was absorbed by the thriving valley settlements when Connecticut was granted its charter. Under Hooker’s leadership, Congregationalists of Connecticut adopted the Fundamental Orders (1639), which provided for citizen voting in selecting government officials. By 1700, Connecticut and Rhode Island were the only two English colonies with corporate charters granting full self-government. Having been settled largely before the end of the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), Connecticut remained until the American Revolution (1776–1783) heavily English in character, with almost no non-English enclaves.

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